Hello there, friends!
What a month. I have been doing some hustling these past few weeks, and I’m pleased to announce I am not set to appear at another book signing, but I also have my first ever live reading this month!
I received an email about two weeks ago from the event coordinator of PoetSpeak confirming my acceptance as an author to read at the event. PoetSpeak is an annual poetry reading event happening in Rolla, Missouri on the 21st of April. I will be reading some original poetry along with several other Missouri poets, and I couldn’t be more excited for this opportunity.
Usually, poetry isn’t my go-to outlet for my creative writing. I do a lot more work with stories. However, the poetry I do write is typically based off of real life events that have happened to me or specific emotions. So the pieces I have selected are important to me for that reason, and I am all at once excited and nervous to share them with people.
This event will be a great time regardless, and if you can come out, I totally suggest you do (if not for my sake than at least to enjoy a night of poetry ;D).
Not only that, but Budding Bards: Volume Three will have another signing event April 22nd at the Sedalia Area Literacy Council’s 18th Annual Tea and Auction. The event itself is a charity fundraiser that raises money for literacy programs in the Sedalia and surrounding areas. The doors will open at 1PM, and so will the signing, and the auction starts at 2PM. There will be snacks, beverages, unique items auctioned off, and good times to be had for all involved.
I have added a new section to the menu of my site labelled “Where’s Ashlynne”, and the event information can be found listed there as well for a quick reference point for the future!
During all of this, I have spent the end of February and all of March going through the process of sending my novel, Haywood Micaye, out to literary agents. Essentially, in “traditional” publishing like what I’m trying to achieve, a writer seeks out a literary agent so the agent can then go on to pitch your book to publishing houses to get it published.
I could, of course, opt to take matters into my own hands if I wanted and go the self-publishing route with my book. However, as someone who wants to make a career out of writing and is planning on publishing many more books to come, I have decided that for now, my best method of attack would be to have an agent to help me along during all of that.
So far, it’s been a process. I have a list of agent names I’ve been working through, but there’s quite a bit of wait time between the initial query and the actual answer as to whether or not they actually like my work. All the radio silence has led to me checking my email inbox like I would check Facebook or Instagram, hoping for an email, dejected when I get nothing but ads from subscriptions and social media alerts, desperate to get some kind of a response. At this point, I think I would be okay even with a rejection letter, just some kind of reply from anyone would be good.
It’s a special sort of anticipation, I suppose. I have thrown myself into a novella project I’ve been daydreaming about lately now to distract myself from my impatience. And actually, it’s been going surprisingly well, so maybe in a couple weeks I’ll do something with it so I can share it with you guys as well.
Throughout all the writing and hustling and waiting, I have returned a few times to Neil Gaiman’s famous Keynote Address from 2012. It’s a piece of writing I’ve always held close to my heart, but now more than ever I’ve used it as a means to inspire me to keep pushing forward with the writing process, particularly this passage in the speech:
“…When you start off, you have to deal with the problems of failure… A freelance life, a life in the arts, is sometimes like putting messages in bottles, on a desert island, and hoping that someone will find one of your bottles and open it and read it, and put something in a bottle that will wash its way back to you: appreciation, or a commission, or money, or love. And you have to accept that you may put out a hundred bottles for every one bottle that winds up coming back.
The problems of failure are the problems of discouragement, of hopelessness, of hunger. You want everything to happen and you want it now, and things go wrong.”
I have artistic idols in my life that have heavily shaped my ideas on creativity and art making, and Mr. Gaiman is most definitely one of those people. It’s sometimes a challenge, waiting for the next step of this journey to happen. And there have been things I’ve wanted to do or tried doing before that have fallen through, and there will be more things like that in the future. But it helps to know that there are people I idolize who have struggled with the same thing.
I just have to trust that everything I want to happen will happen in due time. Until then, I’m going to continue what I’ve been doing: make good art.
Until next time,